ArtsBuild Ontario’s Vaccination Policy

Effective September 22nd, 2021, all staff, short-term renters and visitors of ArtsBuild Ontario will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to access our rented spaces within 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace. Proof of vaccination status will be required and must show the individual to be fully vaccinated* a minimum of fourteen (14) days prior to accessing the building. Proof of vaccination must be in the form of a Ministry of Health official form or a vaccination passport once they come available.

*Fully Vaccinated – Full vaccination status is defined as receiving two valid doses of a Health Canada recognized COVID-19 vaccine. Note that full vaccination status may be subject to change based on changes in the Ministry of Health guidelines.

ArtsBuild Ontario Staff

All staff at ArtsBuild Ontario must be fully vaccinated in order to report to work. Staff who require an accommodation under the Human Rights Code, that has been approved by the Executive Director, will be required to undergo regular antigen testing taken within 48 hours of reporting to work. Only staff members who receive a negative result will be permitted to work.

The cost for this testing will remain free of charge to the staff member or volunteer only as long as the tests are provided free of charge by the Government of Ontario, once they are no longer being provided free of charge, the individual will be responsible for the cost of the test.

All staff are required to take the passive screening test at the entrance of 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace each day before entering the building.

Renter Access

All renters and their attendees of ArtsBuild Ontario’s rental spaces, within 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace, will be required to be fully vaccinated for a minimum of fourteen (14) days prior to accessing the building. The renter or organizer is responsible for ensuring their guests are aware of and in accordance with the ArtsBuild Ontario’s Vaccination Policy. Attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination along with photo identification upon entering the building. Those who cannot provide proof of vaccination will not be permitted access.

In the absence of proof of full vaccination status, we will require those who wish to access the building to provide proof of a negative antigen test within 48 hours of attending the event. This negative test result will be required to be shown along with photo identification upon entering the building.

All renters and their attendees are required to take the passive screening test at the entrance of 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace each day before entering the building.

Children 11 Years of Age and Younger

Effective September 22nd, 2021, children not yet eligible for vaccination may access 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace as long as they are accompanied by parents who have provided their own proof of vaccination. Children 11 years of age and younger are also exempt from antigen testing. Parents are asked to closely monitor their children for COVID-19 symptoms and must submit that they have self-screened their unvaccinated child prior to entering 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace.

All parents of children not yet eligible for vaccination are required to take the passive screening test at the entrance of 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace each day before entering the building.


ArtsBuild Ontario will comply with its human rights obligations and accommodate visitors who are legally entitled to accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Any visitors being accommodated in this manner will be subject to face-covering rules indefinitely. We will also require those who are unable to get vaccinated to provide us with proof of a negative antigen test result within 72 hours of attending 44 Gaukel Creative Workspace.

If you should require accommodation, please send an accommodation request to This request must include one of the two supporting documents:

  • A letter on letterhead from your Primary Care Physician indicating that there is an underlying medical condition that deems it unsafe for you to receive the vaccine.
  • A letter on letterhead from your religious leader indicating that your faith disallows you to receive the vaccine.

For the period between September 22 and October 12, 2021, in accordance withprovincial regulations, people accessing ArtsBuild Ontario’s rental spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours beforethe event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. Once supporting documentation is received your request will be evaluated by the Executive Director for approval.

Privacy Statement
ArtsBuild Ontario takes the privacy of its renters, visitors and staff seriously and will take appropriate steps to comply with applicable privacy laws. An individual’s vaccination status is personal information that will not be shared with individuals outside of those authorized to have access for the purposes of enforcing the Vaccination Policy.

Mapping Northern Creative Spaces

In Fall 2020, ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) partnered with NORDIK Institute for the Mapping Northern Creative Spaces study. ABO and NORDIK Institute completed detailed case reports on four northern communities – Wawa, Kenora/Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, and Timmins. These reports focused on the creative space needs of the communities and identified potential capital projects. The four regions included in this study are a sampling of the vast artistic and cultural potential of northern communities. There is a clear need identified in the reports for more designated space for the continuation of cultural development.

The economy of Northern Ontario has been largely based on resource extraction. This focus on resources like forestry and mining contributed to prosperous economic development. For a long time, other local assets and resources, such as community and cultural development, were not part of community development initiatives. ABO and NORDIK Institute decided to explore the potential of northern areas to better understand what these communities are missing. While each community report is unique, there are several key underlying connections among all four regions. All of the organizations and individuals who participated in the study surveys felt under-resourced, undervalued, underdeveloped and underutilized. All communities also felt isolated as though they are a separate community within the broader whole. Due to a lack of funding, their northern location, and politics, these communities feel that they are unable to fulfill capital projects to develop their creative spaces.

Having a physical space for operations allows for the continuum of creative processes and allows for networks to emerge and grow. The physical space and operationalizing are what drive this sector forward. With these reports, we hope that a framework for developing future capital projects can be considered and used to support the arts and culture sector in Northern Ontario.

We would like to thank our program partners at NORDIK Institute for their collaborative efforts with each community and ABO throughout the project. Thank you to all the communities involved in this project.

This program was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. 


The Beat Goes On!

With the pandemic taking the forefront of our lives and conversations, many of us have felt a loss of inspiration and a fatigue of continually being faced with the unknown.  In order to reinvigorate your creative space energy, ArtsBuild Ontario has created a playlist just for facility managers and your creative workspaces!  If you are looking for 56 minutes of songs about buildings, check out this playlist.

What music have you been listening to for inspiration?


Spotify: Spotify – ArtsBuild Ontario Playlist

Apple Music:

Call for Strategic Planning Consultant

Position: Consultant
Tentative Start Date: September 30, 2021
End Date: January 31, 2022
Location: Ontario
Position Type: Contract $6,500

Deadline to submit proposal: September 17 at 5pm.


ArtsBuild Ontario (ABO) is the only organization in Ontario dedicated to realizing long-term solutions for building, managing and financing the sustainable arts facilities needed in Ontario’s diverse communities. We are a non-profit arts service organization that provides organizations with training, tools and resources that support the development and management of creative spaces such as theatres, galleries, concert halls, museums and other creative spaces.

ABO is seeking proposals from qualified consultants and/or consulting firms to assist in the development of a three-year comprehensive strategic plan that will focus on our network’s needs, our services, our values and our vision for the future.

ABO is an organization that is working to embed the values of individual and group differences within its working environment. We strive to embrace the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of our staff, members, arts community, and partners. Indigenous peoples, people of colour, and people across the spectrums of gender, sexuality, age, and abilities are encouraged to apply.

Scope of Work

The consultant shall complete the following:

  • Design and execute a strategic visioning and comprehensive planning process including consultations and workshops with Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, Staff, Funders and Key Partners
  • Develop recommendations for a three-year actionable strategic plan

Anticipated Process

ABO seeks the consultant’s recommendations regarding the best process for developing the strategic plan, to be conducted in two parts:

Part 1: Vision, Strategic Directions and Research

  1. Consultations: Develop consultation framework and questions/issues for staff, advisory committee, funders and key partners.
  2. Research: Integrate related data, stakeholder strategic plans and any relevant research and best practices that compliments strategic directions and stakeholder consultations.
  3. Synthesize: Consolidate consultation feedback and research. After consultation with Board of Directors, identify strategic directions and goals.

Part 2: Write the Strategic Plan

Utilizing information from the first stage, the consultation will develop recommendations for a strategic plan. This plan will serve as ArtsBuild Ontario’s guide for the next three years.

Consultant Qualifications

To accomplish the scope requested, the consultant will need to possess the following qualifications:

  • Experience at successfully developing consensus-based strategic plans
  • Knowledgeable of collective impact or collaborative strategic initiatives
  • Strong facilitation skills
  • Knowledgeable of non-profit/charitable sector
  • Experience at creating a neutral environment for, and soliciting input from, individuals from various sectors
  • Experience at gathering and utilizing data to inform the strategic planning process
  • Knowledgeable in marketing, communications, and branding
  • Knowledgeable in resource/program development

Work Plan

The proposal should contain a detailed description of the activities to be conducted by the consultant in order to complete the requested scope of work, including:

  • Specific activities to be conducted at each stage
  • Who will be involved at each stage
  • A timeline for the activities at each stage
  • Milestones and deliverables tied to those activities
  • A proposed payment schedule

Criteria for Evaluating Success of the Project

The Board of Directors will deem this a successful project when they are given a clear report which outlines the strategic directions, areas of improvement and a recommended action plan. Previous strategic and other corporate materials will be provided to the consultant as background information upon request.

Previous Work Product

The proposal should include at least two examples of written work similar to the scope of work requested within this RFP.

Proposed Timeline

  • September 24-30, 2021: Interview process
  • September 30, 2021: Contract issued
  • October 11 – November 15, 2021: Phase One (Board retreat, Consultations and Research)
  • November 15 – December 13, 2021: Phase Two (Provide recommendations for Strategic Plan)

Please forward proposal to Alex Glass, Executive Director


Subject line: Proposal offer: ABO Strategic Planning Consultant

Reflecting and Reopening: Three Arts Spaces on COVID-19 and Step 3

There is no doubt that the COVID 19 has hit the arts and creative businesses hard. The pandemic brought hardship and loss not only in business and revenue, but also in creative production and presentation. As Ontario is in the midst of Step 3 on the Roadmap to Reopening, we decided to catch up with Debajehmujig Theatre, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KWAG), Akin Collective to reflect on the past year and see what reopening looks like for them.How has your organization evolved with COVID?

Debajehmujig Theatre:COVID came at a time when we were developing a digital adaptation strategy. As things began to evolve, our operations utilized the hybrid model where we had some in person audience members, and some online. Through the year we had several events. At Easter, there were two festivals over the weekend, at halloween there was a Horror storytelling, and in winter, an online winter cabaret was developed. The team is innovative so we created ways to ensure we remained active, relevant, and responsive to the communities we serve. It was important to us to maintain our core concept of sharing and educating on Indigenous culture. Furthermore, being provocative and courageous in that work.”  

KWAG: “KWAG transitioned to the work-from-home model while delivering activity online. That included developing a new digital tool on our website to host exhibitions, like our annual student exhibition. We also changed the way we used our blog and e-newsletter to provide more story-driven content. We developed more virtual programs for kids and families, developed a Summer Art Camp program based on take-home art kits, created downloadable lesson plans for teachers and schools to replace our in-school programs, and hosted Artist Talks on Zoom. We have been combining on-site exhibitions (even small-group tours) and outdoor programs with virtual offerings ever since. 

Akin: As an organization offering in-person arts programming, and providing workspace to artists in open-concept shared working environments, we had to adapt our services quickly. We launched our Studio Rent Relief Fund at the very beginning of COVID-19 to support artists facing financial hardships with covering their studio rent. Our staff was able to work from home quite readily. We did have to adapt our intake process for new members as we stopped doing on-site in-person tours. We switched to virtual meetings only, increased the frequency of mental-health check-ins and generally practiced more patience and care with each other.  We lost many of our studio members during COVID-19, who chose to work from home exclusively rather than keep a rental studio. While this was the best and safest option for many, we have had to close 5 of our studio locations since early 2020: Akin Lansdowne, Akin X Collision Gallery, Akin River, Akin Sunrise and Akin Lakeshore. Because of our membership loss and studio closures our organization has taken a huge financial hit as a result of  COVID-19 and we are grateful to have been able to continue operating despite that.”


How are operations changing with COVID restrictions beginning to loosen up?

Debajehmujig Theatre:What works for Debajehmujig is the focus on our strategic and operational plans, assessments post event, and building upon consumer confidence and trust being a priority. The creation process will continue to evolve and productions will adapt to the changing times. However the roots will remain the same.”

KWAG:We are allowed to operate Summer Art Camps during this time, but are maintaining the hybrid model we developed over the last year so we have both virtual camps and outdoor-focused camps on-site with a much smaller group of campers. We’ve installed our new summer exhibition, a wave in other words, with a very minimal crew of exclusively KWAG staff.

Akin: “Although the virtual programming did the trick, the in-person element is missing from our community.  Upcoming events include a live Art In The Park session, an outdoor Show & Tell (for members to show new work in a peer-supported environment), and if all goes well a group exhibition opportunity.”


What changes are here to stay?

Debajehmujig Theatre:We made adaptations for hybrid events, contactless payments and bookings, as we developed our production. We will have to adapt for custom sets, which include maintaining and building consumer and operational confidence. Other holistic practices such as wellness check-ins will likely stay, adaptation to work from home at times if required.

KWAG:We’re committed to maintaining a hybrid model of on-site and online programs for the long term, now that we’ve seen the benefits of improved reach and accessibility with our virtual programs. While KWAG is always going to push for in-person engagement, we see great potential in retaining our online audience, especially for folks who tune in for Artist Talks, to create engagement across the country and from the comfort of one’s own home.”

Akin: Virtual meetings and an adapted intake process for new members like sharing studio visuals virtually before scheduling  in-person tours will definitely stay. We will also keep offering the Studio Rent Relief Fund to our members indefinitely as long as our continual fundraising efforts for the fund are successful. We also plan to keep some aspects of our virtual programming to help audience reach”

As we continue to recover from COVID-19, ArtsBuild Ontario has resources, such as upcoming COVID relief funding opportunities, that might be useful for you and your creative space! Check out our website for more information on learning, building, and managing your creative space! 

The quotes in this article have been edited for length. We would like to thank Stephanie Vegh from Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Lynda Trudeau from Debajehmujig Theatre and Jen Pilles from Akin Collective for their response and contributions to this blog.